Product: Weapon: Landmine
Decaying Landmines   (+8)  [vote for, against]

The outer shell of these landmines is made from a form of biodegradable plastic that breaks down after about a year in the ground, rendering the device inoperative. So the landmine does not hang around years after the conflict has ended.
-- simonj, May 27 2009

landmine laying machine
b w landmine laying machine [popbottle, Nov 18 2014]

So many good ideas regarding the bad idea of land mines.

You know the only way we're ever going to get them implemented is to go into the land mine manufacturing business and undercut the competitors.
-- normzone, May 27 2009

google US landmine policy

"continue to develop non-persistent (self-destructing/ self-deactivating) landmines that will not pose a humanitarian threat after use in battle; "

maybe not restricted to biodegradation so it isnt a new idea
-- vmaldia, May 31 2009

You could make them out of wood. Cheap, biodegradable, reasonably strong. Generally takes more than a year to rot, though many wars take more than a year to finish, so armies might want longer durations anyway.
-- Bad Jim, May 31 2009

Should be feasible to build in an electronic date tracking device that allows the mine to deactivate on a set date. Which would mean the device would have a set shelf-life, thus guaranteeing further sales for the producer, or even a "maintenance program" whereby the are returned to the factory and re-set for a further period at a small cost. Alternatively, on the programmed deactivation date it triggers release of an internally stored acid which begins the decay process and renders the explosive useless.
-- Hairy Sock, Jun 01 2009

Problems with electronics in landmines :

1) They make them significantly more expensive.

2) They make them easier to find with metal detectors.
-- Bad Jim, Jun 01 2009

Point taken, but at the quantity they buy these things in, and given the low cost of basic circuitry, I don't think it would be a show-stopper.

As for being findable, if somebody is already looking for your mine with a metal detector, I think the element of surprise is pretty much gone already.

I wonder what the formal philosophy and policy of mine placement is? I can't imagine that wholesale destruction is a viable goal of such an approach, probably more like deterrence, hinderance, and random unplanned medical emergencies.
-- normzone, Jun 01 2009

//given the low cost of basic circuitry, I don't think it would be a show-stopper.//

They can lay a mine for the cost of a hamburger. Add a few cents to that and you've increased the cost if the minefield by quite a bit. Remember a lot of armies have a limited budget and need to make every penny count.

//if somebody is already looking for your mine with a metal detector, I think the element of surprise is pretty much gone already.//

It's less to do with the element of surprise and more to do with being difficult and time consuming to get through a known minefield. If you can do it with a metal detector, you can mount one on the front of a vehicle and move slowly enough to stop in time. They don't do it currently because most mines have little or no metal.
-- Bad Jim, Jun 01 2009

(+) This mine should be called the "bourgeois mine". Luxurious and hypocritical.

That is: only Europeans and Americans will buy the bourgeois mine. Like they buy fair trade products or organically grown lettuce.

Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Congolese and other third world warriors will simply go for the cheapest mine, as they do with food. They don't have a choice.

But then, the market for the bourgeois mine is huge as such, because the U.S. spends more than all other 20 big military spenders combined.

I would also give each type of bourgeois mine a feminine name: the "Juliette", the "Grace", the "Antoinette", etc... Makes it more bourgeois.
-- django, Jun 02 2009

A "luxury" landmine might play a short tune prior to going off. Or, one in every batch could, instead of inflicting violent bloody mutilation, spray lots of pretty confetti up in the air, and emit streamers embossed with the company logo in bold, friendly letters. On further inspection, it might contain a short motto and a novelty item such as a pair of cufflinks, or a fruit-shaped pencil sharpener.
-- zen_tom, Jun 02 2009

Then we've come full circle to my first anno. Odd to think that in order to make the world a safer place for civilians that we'd have to go into the mine manufacturing business. I can just see me trying to explain this one to my mother.
-- normzone, Jun 02 2009

Mine's a pint!
-- xenzag, Jun 02 2009

Just include a watch-battery-powered circuit in the detonation mechanism. The lifespan of a battery at a given load is quite predictable. Plus it could tell the time.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 02 2009

//Plus it could tell the time//

.....and therefore be made to only go off at civilized hours of the day.
-- bs0u0155, Nov 18 2014

One could buy and then give away the bourgeois mines! People desiring land mines would have no incentive to purchase the cheapies when they can get fancy mines for free. Plus this way you can install proprietary detection methods such that you must hire the manufacturer of the mine to go and find them all afterwards. Everybody wins.
-- bungston, Nov 18 2014

Wow. Just randomly browsing and here I am...again.

And again. I'm not even going to attempt to explain this one to my mother.

I'm trying to imagine the venture capitalist pitch for this one...
-- normzone, Nov 18 2014

If you do find a sympathetic VC, can you mention my sustainable bayonets to him?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 18 2014

random, halfbakery